Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1982)

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
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TitleSweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Year1982
CountryUSA
GenreMusical (Movies)
CollectionSerial Killers
Run Time2h 20 min
Director

The character of Sweeney Todd had its origins in serialized Victorian popular fiction, known as “penny dreadfuls”. A story called The String of Pearls was published in a weekly magazine during the winter of 1846–47. Set in 1785, the story featured as its principal villain a certain Sweeney Todd and included all the plot elements that were used by Sondheim and others ever since. The murderous barber’s story proved instantly popular – it was turned into a play before the ending had even been revealed in print. An expanded edition appeared in 1850, an American version in 1852, a new play in 1865. By the 1870s, Sweeney Todd was a familiar character to most Victorians.

Sondheim’s musical was, in fact, based on Christopher Bond’s 1973 spooky melodrama, which introduced a psychological background to Todd’s crimes. In Bond’s reincarnation of the character, Todd was the victim of a ruthless judge who raped his young wife and exiled him to Australia. Sondheim first conceived of a musical version of the story in 1973, after he went to see Bond’s ghoulish take on the story at Theatre Royal Stratford East.

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Date of download: 2015-11-11T17:22:34+00:00

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
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Cast:

George Hearn George Hearn
Sweeney Todd
Angela Lansbury Angela Lansbury
Nellie Lovett

The character of Sweeney Todd had its origins in serialized Victorian popular fiction, known as “penny dreadfuls”. A story called The String of Pearls was published in a weekly magazine during the winter of 1846–47. Set in 1785, the story featured as its principal villain a certain Sweeney Todd and included all the plot elements that were used by Sondheim and others ever since. The murderous barber’s story proved instantly popular – it was turned into a play before the ending had even been revealed in print. An expanded edition appeared in 1850, an American version in 1852, a new play in 1865. By the 1870s, Sweeney Todd was a familiar character to most Victorians.

Sondheim’s musical was, in fact, based on Christopher Bond’s 1973 spooky melodrama, which introduced a psychological background to Todd’s crimes. In Bond’s reincarnation of the character, Todd was the victim of a ruthless judge who raped his young wife and exiled him to Australia. Sondheim first conceived of a musical version of the story in 1973, after he went to see Bond’s ghoulish take on the story at Theatre Royal Stratford East.

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